Iraq Vets and Core Intolerants

Author: Norman Kjono
Article Published: 25/11/2007

From the Daily Mail, November 24, 2007, Iraq Veterans Driven Out of Public Pool When Told They Might Scare Children:


“Soldiers who suffered appalling injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan were verbally abused as they swam in a public swimming pool. During a weekly rehabilitation class at a council leisure centre, 15 servicemen – including several who have lost limbs or suffered severe burns – were heckled and jeered by members of the public. One woman was so incensed that the troops were using the pool at Leatherhead Leisure Centre in Surrey that she told them they did not deserve to be there. She became increasingly abusive, screaming that it was wrong for staff to rope off a lane exclusively for the injured personnel from the nearby Headley Court rehabilitation centre. The swimmer, thought to be in her 30s, is understood to have said: ‘I pay to come here and swim – you lot don't.’"


It appears that to at least some members of the public one lane in a swimming pool reserved on occasion for veterans’ rehabilitation is simply too much of an intrusion on their rights to bear.  Inevitably, one short news article the old stream press invokes the Sacrosanct Sound-bites (SS) of “The Children” and “I Pay.” Apparently, it does not occur to the Core Intolerants who expressed outrage at wounded veterans’ being in a public pool that the veterans they complained of had already paid with their blood and sacrifice for their right to be there. Those objecting to the veterans being in the pool engage in all-too-familiar, filthy behavior inspired by today’s Social Marketing agendas and media support for them.


Many persons who smoke – including a very large number of veterans -- have confronted the Pristine Clean. The species has a penchant for proclaiming that “Freedom” means they can do anything they choose without restraint anywhere, while others can do nothing they disapprove of anywhere without permission. Many petulantly whine fashionable Social Marketing sound bites in the compliant old stream press about their hair, as if one person’s bad hair night is more important than a bar or tavern owners right to a legitimate return on his or her small business investment or to earn an honest living. Many who have never served in uniform are equally disposed to mandating that veterans not smoke in their Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion clubs. This ill-fitting demographic group among us will frequently holler at others that smoking bans for bars, taverns, casinos and private clubs are a vital necessity to “Save the Children.” That those whimpering about their hair from behind their children as shields may not patronize any local tavern or their children have never seen the inside of a bar becomes expediently-overlooked, non-essential facts.


The Pristine Clean also self-righteously screech artificial boundaries where other’s rights end, typically at the end of their pointy blue nose and, more recently, within their line of sight. After all, they pout, there are some things that children just should not see in swimming pools or parks as well as on beaches and in one’s won car. They tout demographics that purportedly “prove” they are the majority, then decree minority rights to suit their demands of the day or agenda. By doing so they confuse the majority of the public not being tobacco consumers with the majority sharing in their absurd personal beliefs. By doing so, Core Intolerant Pristine Clean adherents negatively label and unfavorably stereotype the majority as being of the same ill-fitting subspecies as they are.  Pristine Clean personal preferences become all other citizens’ legal mandates by default. Many of that species have a particular penchant for decreeing what they will not pay for. they demand that the “Targets” of their hate pay for many services they enjoy, while ignoring the contributions the objects of their hate have already made. A recent expression of that hurtful contradiction is support from some members of the public that persons who smoke finance the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for the children of nonsmokers (see Bush Gets It Right IX: More Congressional Correspondence About SCHIP).


While doing so, these Core Intolerants display acute ignorance that their tawdry behavior is that of a distinct and shrinking minority (see pages 1 to 4 of California’s Proposition 86: A Review of voting Patterns and Broader Issues as well as a recent Harris/Wall Street Journal Poll).Most of the species enjoys a special emotional hit from their presumed power over others, most often expressing it by disempowering others. There’s something Freudian about that. Perhaps these social discourse miscreants are merely expressing the abject lack of empowerment they feel in their own lives, acting out false assertions of power on meaningless points that matter to none but themselves.


The problem with Pristine Clean behavior is that it becomes a way of life. Once addicted to the hormonal hit received by mandating other’s rights and behavior it becomes easy to vent one’s intolerant spleen on others in similar fashion about any subject or issue. Tobacco control many therefore be viewed as a gateway hormone to full-blown Personal Intolerance Selection Syndrome (PISS). The news article excerpted at the beginning of this commentary is a particularly filthy example of a Pristine Clean subspecies PISSing on others.


As I read that article I flashed back to Travis Air Force Base in 1971. When returning home from Viet Nam on emergency leave to attend by father-in-law’s funeral I was confronted with protestor signs that said “Baby Killer” and people shouting similar statements. On other occasions, it was necessary to stand watch on fire hoses to wash away from the side of the ship rafts that contained protestors attempting to board warships. Some of the protestors in that era once waved lit torches as they attempted to board my ship while it was being loaded with thousands of tons of high explosive munitions. That behavior was nothing more or lees than a astounding testament to Agenda-Afflicted protestors’ sheer ignorance. Rest assured that the fire hoses were turned on with a considerable degree of alacrity, self-preservation being a highly-motivating force at the time. The pure, unbridled hatred of many who opposed that war and the silence of public voices in support of service men and women served in the conflict had an indelible impact on me. I expressed some personal feelings about that in context of tobacco control in my December 18, 1997 commentary Let’s Really Save the Kids, published by That work, re-titled “A Better Way to Talk to Teens About Smoking,” was later published by Lucent Books/Greenhaven Press in its Contemporary Issues Companion anthology, “Teen Smoking.”


Notwithstanding the unseemly behavior of some in the above-referenced swimming pool incident, the greater fault lies with those at the pool who said nothing. Where were the people who stood up and said those veterans have every right to be in the swimming pool? Who among those around the pool  expressed concern or care about how those veterans felt? Why did no one apparently stand up for those veterans, to give them the comfort of a voice in support of them? By what credible social standard do those who enjoy freedoms PISS in the pool of those who sacrificed to assure the freedoms enjoyed? The true shame is found in silence of support for those who are “Targets” of Core Intolerant behavior. The sounds of silence speak volumes. It was a humiliating statement on behalf of normal people that the unseemly bleatings of the few compelled those who had already paid in blood for their right to be in that pool were force to leave. Those events forcefully remind one of the days about seventy years ago when Jews were thrown out of public swimming pools for “health reasons,” compliments of an anti-tobacco National Socialist Party Fuehrer. Those events also raise an compelling cultural question for normal people: if Core Intolerants find a combat veteran amputee’s missing leg or a person smoking in a park to be too disgusting for children to observe, what hateful expressions and persona preference mandates can we expect about a pair of size 50 buns or a 48 waist covered by stretching spandex?


Fault must also be shouldered by those who expediently stand aside because “it doesn’t affect me,” as well as those who apparently relish their status as “victims.”  The former never realize that allowing their neighborhoods and communities to be polluted by Core Intolerant PISSing exhibitions creates a cultural cesspool for everyone. They, and normal folks along with them, are directly affected on a daily basis by the hurtful cultural environment that is permited to spread. The later, who self-immolate while reveling in their injury, spend countless hours commiserating with others of like predisposition in endless E-Mail threads about how “someone” has to do “something” about what “they” did to “them.” Overlooked in such behavior is the fundamental reality that if they spent as much time communicating their objections to elected representatives as they do commiserating among members of their own choir the special-interest agendas they complain of would soon become politically impossible to sustain. Perhaps it will one day occur to such victims that they are symbiots with Core Intolerants in the truest sense of the word: Core Intolerants cannot function without those to be “Targeted” and Victims have no purpose for their chosen state of existence unless someone does something to them. Both are equally dysfunctional in a healthy and vibrant cultural environment.


We have met the enemy, as it has been said. In this case the true enemy is our beliefs. As we believe things come to be. We define our path, our lives, our way by what we think and believe each day. Beliefs imply – indeed, often demand – expression. While Core Intolerants stridently proclaim their self-serving beliefs with increasing ferocity the majority stand silent. By their silence the majority justly earn the consequences imposed on everyone by Core Intolerants. The choice for the majority therefore becomes not silence or speech but to endure or not endure the consequences of ever-increasing hateful cultural and dysfunctional economic environments.


Perhaps a good place to begin reexamining this cultural equation is through words in the below poem that was penned more than ten years ago. To begin cleaning up the cultural mess created for everyone we can, at the least, focus our attention on opportunistic politicians who pander to Core Intolerants in self-serving support of special-interest agendas that fuel the Sacrosanct Sound-bite (SS) generators.


Norman E. Kjono



We elect our politicians
do throughout the day;
really does seem right to them,
help us find our way.


 They wind up doing what’s correct
in the dead of night;
do what is political,
left or right.


 And then we always wonder why
we don’t get as expected.
We never seem to rea
we have been corrected.


 There is a difference, clear as day,
what’s right and what’s correct.
The difference is so very great,
seldom do connect.


 The difference one word, you see.
It’s when we add “politically.”


For once it is political
those who have the clout;
say what’s right
you and me;
say what “it’s” about.


 So we’ll just stay with right and wrong;
for that we’ll understand.
We always seem to figure it out,

that’s what’s so great about this land.


Excerpted from “Tree: One Life that Made a Difference

Copyright © Norman E. Kjono 1997

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